'Normalise as the year progresses': Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake on Australia's economic recovery

‘Normalise as the year progresses’: Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake on Australia’s economic recovery

Fortune Most Powerful

Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake has touted Australia’s economic recovery, saying it is world leading despite the slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

 Speaking at the annual Macquarie Australia Conference, Wikramanayake also spoke of the importance of the public and private sector working together to address climate change.

“In general the countries that have controlled the virus the best have seen the strongest recoveries, with China and Australia outperforming over last year,” Wikramanayake said at the conference.

“The US is likely to lead the way in 2021 as fiscal stimulus and the rapid vaccine rollout allow economic re-opening, but Australia is still expected to this year outperform most other economies.”

“Despite the ongoing risks the Australian economic recovery continues to lead the world, with medical success allowing the government to re-open much of the economy,” she said.

Wikramanayake said the very low rates of COVID-19 in Australia have allowed much of the domestic economy to return toward normal. She said as the current slow rate of vaccinations picks up pace, we should be able to “normalise”.

“As the program picks up pace, the success of the mass inoculation programs in places like Israel suggests that we will be able to further normalise as the year progresses and eventually re-open our borders so that some of you can join us here next year in person,” she said.

Wikramanayake spent ten years as the Head of Macquarie Asset Management before being appointed CEO of Macquarie Group two years ago. In 2020, she was ranked fifth on Fortune’s list of the most powerful international women.

At the Macquarie Australia Conference, she spoke positively about the global push towards reducing carbon emissions and said that business and government should work together to progress this.

“We can be confident that we know that the best approach to reaching the necessary targets is a strong partnership between the public and private sectors.

“Those of us in this virtual room hold many of the solutions to effect the vast scale of change that’s needed.”

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